The first-ever emulsion paint made from 100% waste ochre materials has been created by a University College London Slade School of Fine Art graduate.
Onya McCausland developed the concept of turning recycled coal mine sludge into paint while studying for her PhD.
Her work included visiting mines in South Wales, Scotland, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Water treatment at these sites prevents iron solids from polluting local water. Once treated, the clean water enters local waterways and leaves behind iron solids that would stain riverbeds orange if left untreated. This is the ochre by-product used to create the new paint.
“The mine water treatment schemes are the really important link between the color, the material and the place. They reflect an important part of Britain’s cultural, social and industrial history and legacy,” she explained.
The first paint color, ‘Six Bells Red’, was launched at the Six Bells Mine Water Treatment Scheme in Wales on Dec. 11.